Step 3: Plan

A Career Plan will help to make your goals more manageable and achievable.  While the future is unpredictable, your career plan can be used as a roadmap for visualizing what you want to achieve in your career. A good career plan will require you to identify the steps you need to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be in the future.  Once you have assessed yourself and explored opportunities that interest you, integrate what you have learned about yourself to create a plan of action.

Developing your Career Plan

When developing your career plan, it is important to remain flexible and anticipate that changing circumstances may affect your course at some point in your career. Reviewing your career plan periodically will allow you to make adjustments as needed. Here are some tips to keep in mind when putting your career plan together:

Are your goals SMART? The SMART framework was created by psychologists as a tool to help people reach their goals.

 When you develop your goals, ask yourself:

  • Is my goal clear and well-defined (Specific)?
  • Can I measure and track the progress of my goal by dates, times, numbers (Measurable)?
  • Is my goal realisitic for where I am in my life and career right now? Do I have all the resources I need for it? (Achievable)?
  • Does this goal relate to my broader career objectives and goals? Does it align with my interests and ambitions (Relevant)?
  • What is the deadline for achieving my goal and is it realistic? When do other priorities do I have at the moment that might affect my timeframe for achieving the goal(Time-bound)?

Set goals that motivate you. One of the best way to ensure you reach your career goals, is to set goals that inspire you and align with your values. Review the self-assessment section for further discussion on identifying your values.

Look at what's missing.  Identify gaps in your skills and think of what you can do to further develop your competencies and skill set, such as taking a course or training.

Know what resources are available. How can the people you know support you in your career decisions? How much time, money and energy do you have at your disposal to accomplish certain goals? Does your work offer training or learning opportunities that can help you fill the gaps in your skills? Such resources are key for good career planning.

Divide your goals into short-term and long-term goals. It is useful to break down your career plan into short-term and long-term goals.  A long-term goal is typically what you would like to achieve in 3- 5 years and a short-term goal could be something you would like to accomplish within the next few months or within 1-2 years.

Get some accountability.  A good friend or a respected colleague can be an excellent cheerleader to remind you of your career plan and keep you motivated. If you are a UNDP or UNWOMEN JPO or SARC, signing up for a Mentor is  an excellent opportunity to get accountability and career support from an experienced profession in your field.